Guilty Pleasures – A DsD Guest Presenter Edition

I was going to call this thread ‘Listen Without Prejudice’ but some bugger swine’s nicked that idea before.

There are guilty pleasures (“mmm, yummy!”) and there are guilty pleasures (*blush*). But when you’re a heavy rocker of a certain age, there are also GUILTY pleasures as in ‘disbelieving-looks-of-scorn-and-immediate-ostracism’ from your peers: guess which category this one falls into?!

But I’m posting it for a reason, and with a question for you all [“All”? Er, DsD, I think you’ll find there’s no-one here: they’ve all gone down the pub to get away. – Ed] to consider.

I have taken some simple steps to hide the artist’s name from the player. This is NOT to hide my embarrassment, though you may not believe me about that! It’s because the question is about the influence our prejudice has on our view of a song. In other words, I’m covering a lot of the same intellectual ground Bish did with his Paris Hilton selection a few weeks ago.

Now some of you will recognize the song (& thus the artist) immediately: there’s not a lot I can do about you people. I suppose that makes you the benchmark for the experiment. All I want from you people is to not give the game away … yet. Just post a reply saying you’re in, say, “Group A”. Some of you – I’m hoping – won’t have a scoob who it is: you’re the control group, as you’re unaffected by the element I’m investigating. So tell me you’re in “Group C” (for Control) and then tell me what you think of the song. The reactions I’m really looking at are from those who hear the opening, can’t think/remember who the artist is, listen …, but then remember who it is. You’re “Group B” (for Bloody Hell!), and I want to know if your perceptions of the song changed as a result of that realization.

Me? I unashamedly love this. I know it’s simple, false, trite, horribly uncool, bombastic, and lyrically, a deeply cynical pull on the heartstrings, but I like it despite all that. So I don’t want or need sneering dismissals of its shallowness; all I want to know is – did you change your opinion of it because of who the artist is?

47 thoughts on “Guilty Pleasures – A DsD Guest Presenter Edition

  1. Blimey. It seems to work! I hope it still does when I shut the PC down – not sure if WP has uploaded the song, or if it’s streaming it direct from me.

    I’ve got to go out now (girls’ swimming lessons, then school Christmas Fayre) so I won’t get back in front of the PC til late this evening. Play nice, now.

  2. Well, I rather like this song – and I hated the artist prior to this release. It was obligatory if you thought you were an indie cool kid back then. And I thought I was. (I wasn’t.) It goes on a bit though…

    I quite like me a bit of 80s blue-eyed soul. I’m a big fan of this, which I’ve always felt was in a similar ballpark – and may be nearly as uncool:

  3. I always had a soft spot for this particular artist and felt that he had a great voice which was generally ill-served by the fodder that was served up for him but which came to the fore on this very lovely song. The production values are very ’80s’ but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. Thanks for sharing, DsD.

      • And of course this one, which is a GREAT song:

        Jeez, I’ve turned into a Deacon Blue fan. When did that happen?!

      • Deacon Blue were my guilty pleasure in my indier-than-thou early-to-mid-teens. More than that, they were actually one of my very favourite bands. This caused me considerable moral anguish, since they were emphatically not cool (the NME said as much), even when they got Paul Oakenfold to produce an album.

        I’m less bothered about these things now, and in the right mood, I’d be happy to argue that Fellow Hoodlums is one of the great records of the 90s.

      • If we’re having a Deacon Blue corner, let’s chuck this one in (the video cracked me up with the “I know it’s not a dinghy but I just found some random boats” comment:


      • Their debut album Raintown has an important part in my music listening history in that, it was the first CD I ever bought. I still find it eminently listenable. Several tracks have already been mentioned but my favourite is this which, lyrically is probably Ricky Ross’s finest moment …

  4. I’m in Group A, I’m afraid. Knew who it was straight away. It’s an OK song and better than his embarressing earlier ouevre.

  5. I’m in Group Q3c. It sounds like someone I remember who sang a particularly annoying song back in the eighties (I don’t believe that narrows it down too much). This is slower than that monstrosity but just as over-produced and synthetically emotional. So, if I’m right, it doesn’t alter my opinion of him one jot.

    I’m working on a device that will, once initiated, surgically remove the backbeat-snare-with-echo from every song released in that most awful of political and musical decades. Should leave about a dozen songs intact.

    Sorry, Rich.

    • … synthetically emotional …

      Yeah, that nails it, Chris, but as I said, I still like it despite knowing how much I was being fed manufactured pap.

      And there’s nothing to apologize for.

  6. Hi DsD, I’m back from the pub (celebrating your birthday, wasn’t I guv?)
    I’m Group C, and to start with I thought ‘I’m going to enjoy this’ until the male singer started. I thought the voice was pedestrian and disappointing, but the rococo treatment of the song as whole, with strong beats & great ‘gospel’ backing, was a lovely wall of sound – musical flock wallpaper. But, as they say these days, it ain’t goin’ on my ipod. But then again, it’s not something I couldn’t bear to hear again. Shame there wasn’t a seriously soulful singer to carry it off. I’ve subsequently googled around and now understand the source of your guilt. But like most of us, I can put my ‘indier than thou’ stance to one side when I hear a great song by an otherwise unhip source. This, though, didn’t quite make the cut.

  7. Well, I may well be in a separate group, shall we call it Group D.

    I didn’t like it, I don’t recognise it and i really have no idea who it is.

  8. I didn’t know who it was and was thinking it was pleasant in a Lionel Ritchie kind of way but nothing I’d listen to again. Did like that woman gospel-style singer coming in at the end, though.

  9. I quite liked it. The backing singers more than the lead vocal I’ll admit. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it before and I have no idea who it is. It did go on a bit too long but, yes, I quite liked it. Wouldn’t say more than that. It’ll probably turn out to be someone I really love now.

    Here’s a song that John Peel played on his radio programme on the day of its release. He invited listeners to identify the singer and about half of those who phoned the station got it right. I don’t know why he didn’t do the falsetto thing more often.

  10. I don’t know it
    I think the voice is someone from the 80’s pop factory…. ‘*.*.*.’

    It’s a song that after listening – I’d be happy never to hear again – not that’s it’s awful – just that I lost concentration easily – played again – and lost the plot of it entirely except, all I could think of saying about it is:
    It makes me think of Walk on the Wild Side… not because of the sound, but the line about “and the coloured girls go……” not the best advert for it.

    P.S. I loved that, “that most awful of political and musical decades” not for the politics but the music – the music was totally brilliant – almost everything coming out of 4AD was original and stunning – and clever pop music too.. from the new wave beginnings to great indie and the alternative slacker years… except of course for the prototype Cowells, who should have been put in Stocks, until they were Aching, then Waterboarded.

    • … except of course for the prototype Cowells, who should have been put in Stocks, until they were Aching, then Waterboarded.

      Oh that sentence is just ace on so many levels, Shane. Thanks for the laugh.

    • No, you’re right, shane. There’s always some good stuff. It was probably the political effect of ‘get-rich-quick’ that helped spawn so much crap music.

  11. Took a couple of lines to ward off the attraction of Group C but, nah, I’m Group A here. Artist X’s intentional comeback before his more recent postmodern comeback, was it not? Never thought he had particularly bad songs, and this was what it was and I don’t have a problem with it, but I did always feel he had something of a Kermit the Frog strain to his voice, without ever producing anything as soulful as this:

    • Can I just add a quick suggestion for a Group E, or a subsection of Group A, to represent the state in which I now find myself, whereby I would have to play the track again to remember a single molecule of it. It’s gone, left no trace, and yet I know that when I stumble upon this in future years, I will have exactly the same recollection of the comeback, the backing singers, the video, the haircut, and I’ll probably wheel out the Kermit reference again, even though really it was less apparent on this track than on the cover version Artist X did of a very famous old song, and had a pretty huge (Christmas? albeit not Christmassy) hit with in his first wave of stardom.

      Why do I suddenly feel like Henry Kelly on Going For Gold? “I am a Parisian landmark…”

      • Ah, now I’m in a very different sub-category – I’m going to have this stuck in my head for days now, if not years, and was shocked by how well I remembered it.

  12. OK, I’m you’re first Group B. I remembered what the song and artiste were just before the chorus, and yes, I think it did change my opinion from “this is a piece of over-produced tosh which may nevertheless be a classic of its monstrous genre” to “oh yes… it’s that **** ****** song”. So, yes, I’m probably prejudiced, and I guess the memories of the hair and indie-cool disdain did change my perception of it.

    Though I think you’re guiltier of a more heinous crime…

  13. So yes folks, it was indeed Rick Astley, and you have been [almost] rick-rolled!

    To those who noted the slow pace and dragging-on duration, I did post the extended mix from the 12″ (which I own), because I too like the backing vocals and beat better than the mushier, and more Rick-centric, short version, which, if anyone can stand it again, is here:

    Thanks for playing, y’all.

    Bedtime for Bonzo.

  14. I’m the same as SpottedRichard, kind of. I kind of recognised the song and then finally recognised Rick’s dulcet tones about three quarters of the way through.

    I quite liked it though! But I like a lot of the 80s pop-pap-crap because it was part of my childhood. Being born in 1976, means that I was still young enough to enjoy the 80s stuff before the sniffy cool of adolescence hit in the 90s. I think this is a good thing, isn’t it??! Isn’t it??!

  15. I’m in Group D – I recognised it but couldn’t place who other than a sneaky idea also that it may well be someone from a certain 80s cheese production line attempting a relaunch. I can see why some would like it, not the worst example of it’s type by any means, but still too much the overproduced, late 80s kind of stuff that seemed to take over Saturday afternoon radio 1. Would be interested to get confirmation of who it actually was…

    • Slow on the uptake there as you’ve already given confirnation. It’s interesting as he was obviously uncomfortable with the pop stuff – didn’t he just drop out at the peak of his pop fame? Still not my bag though so knowing who he was didn’t really make a difference.

  16. Late to the party (again).
    I got the artist about 3/4 of the way through and I have to agree with ToffeeBoy that he was a much underated artist and should have been given better material to work with than his “handlers” allowed. Had not heard the song before and liked it.
    And here is one of my guilty pleasures of the 80’s.


  17. I was in Group D with Carole and Mnemonic; absolutely no recollection of this (I think by this date I was in my late 60s/early 70s classic blues and rock phase and not listening to the charts much) and the revelation that it was Rick Astley really couldn’t lower my opinion of it any further. Lionel Richie comparisons spot on, and the idea that somehow this belongs in the same box as OMD is ridiculous…

    • Hi Abahachi,
      In posting Souvenir I wasn’t trying to compare the music of OMD to anything that Rick Astley had done, but rather to suggest that this particular track was contrary to anything else that I was listening to at that time. -My guilty pleasure-. Much of the music of the 80’s passed me by. I still do not have the time for the music of, for instance, Jackson, Duran Duran, Madona and (Especially) Queen.
      The music I was buying and listening to in the 80’s was Pink Floyd–“The Final Cut”–“A Momentary Lapse of Reason”.
      King Crimson–“Three of a Perfect Pair”–.
      Tangerine Dream–“Underwater Sunlight”–“Lilly on the Beech”.
      Teat Dept–“Beating the Retreat”–“The Unacceptablr Face of Freedom”

      So the OMD track was something that caught my mood at a particular time.

  18. Late to this conversation, but I didn’t recognise Mr Astley and agree with may1366 regarding its forgettability (until maybe the repeated “cry for help” lyric at the end). I think it’s not so unusual for a rock / metal fan to go for this kind of thing, there’s something about the dramatic sensibility of 80s pop that coincides ?

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